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Judas Priest's latest album is their most ambitious work to date, a double-disc concept album based around the life and prophecies of Michele de Nostredame. Like Haggard's similarly themed albums, the band doesn't get too involved in the debate of whether Nosty's ability to see into the future was genuine, or obviously just not, but the framework is set in place for an entertaining album that borders on a rock opera, especially with Rob Halford's orations.
This isn't the most instantly gratifying or accessible Priest album, but it's still their more creative and focused release for over fifteen years. At almost two hours in length, this is pretty heavy-going, and the repetitive styles mean that it's not an album you could easily digest in one sitting. At the same time, even with the ever-present orchestration complimenting the rock instruments, it's not particularly complex, and there are enough fun songs scattered around to maintain the interest of heavy metal fans, especially 'Prophecy,' 'Persecution,' 'Visions' and 'Nostradamus,' the latter bringing back the classic Priest chorus style and regrettably drawing attention to how dissimilar the rest of the album sounds.
This isn't a great album, not even a particularly epic one, but it should satisfy those who enjoy conceptual rock albums. The frequent interludes bulk out the tracklist to a misleading extent, mostly spoken word pieces reminiscent of Iced Earth's 'Night of the Stormrider,' but anyone who was dreading a repeat of Manowar's shockingly self-indulgent 'Gods of War' release will be gratified that this band at least remembers how to play simplistic, enjoyable heavy metal, underneath the Wagnerian polish.
1. Dawn of Creation
5. The Four Horsemen
7. Sands of Time
8. Pestilence and Plague
12. Lost Love
4. Shadows in the Flame
7. New Beginnings
8. Calm Before the Storm
10. The Future of Mankind
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Dawn of Creation - PROPHECY
2 Awaking - REVELATIONS
3 The Four Horseman - WAR
4 Sands Of Time - PESTILENCE AND PLAGUE/ DEATH
5 Peace - CONQUEST/ LOST LOVE / PERSECUTION
6 Solitude - EXILED/ALONG
7 Shadows IN The Flame - VISIONS
8 Hope - NEW BEGINNING
9 Calm Before The Storm - NOSTRADAMUS/ FUTURE OF MANKIND